If your herb garden is overflowing and you’d like a unique way to share your harvest, consider making infused salt or sugar. Using the flowers and leaves from popular culinary herbs allows you to create thoughtful and fun gifts with little effort.
If you would like to make infused salt, start with a high quality base. Flaky salts work best for this application, and are ideal for sprinkling as a finishing salt or for use in a recipe.
Begin with 1/4 cup of salt and approximately 1 teaspoon of herbs and edible flowers. Remove some of the moisture from fresh herbs by drying them in a 200 degree oven. This can help to prevent the salt from clumping.
Depending on the volatility of the herbs’ oils, infused salt may be ready to use in as few as 1-2 days. Kept in an airtight container, the herbed salt may last up to a year. But chances are, you’ll use it much faster than that!
If you choose to infuse sugar, use a ratio of 4 parts sugar to 1 part herbs. Be sure to choose healthy blemish-free herbs and flowers, ensuring they are clean of chemicals. Crush the herbs slightly to begin the process of releasing their oils.
The more moisture your herbs have in them, the more the sugar may clump. Herbs may be dried before use to remove some moisture. If pre-drying the herbs is not an option, this issue will usually resolve as the herbs naturally dry out, and can be hastened by stirring the mixture every few days.
The herb flowers will usually take about 2 weeks to release their flavorful oils completely. Because the herbs and flowers are edible, there is no need to remove them from the sugar. The flecks of color add to the charm of the infused sugar. This sugar should last several months in a tightly-covered container.
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Do you have a tea lover in your life? Chamomile sugar will make a thoughtful gift for them. Giving a sampler of herbal teas and some homemade chamomile flower sugar will let your loved one know that you wish them sweet dreams.
Violet sugar is a pretty and tasty way to add a surprise element to baked goods. Try sprinkling violet sugar on top of sugar cookies or on a white buttercream frosting. The flecks of flowers add visual interest and a fresh flavor. This would be a beautiful choice for Mother’s Day or a spring birthday.
Salt infused with dill flowers will add an extra layer of flavor to dry rubs. Dill salt would be especially good mixed with garlic powder. Try this combination on a cut of meat that cooks at a low temperature for several hours, such as a savory pork roast.
Salt infused with flowers from French chives or garlic chives will impart a subtle onion flavor to your dishes. Try sprinkling chive flower salt on vegetables that have been blanched at the peak of their freshness. Green beans and corn on the cob are excellent choices here. Chive salt also makes a considerate gift for someone who loves to experiment in the kitchen.
This list is certainly not all-inclusive. The wonderful thing about these culinary gifts is that you’re limited only by your imagination. Try salt blended with basil flowers to sprinkle on fresh mozzerella. Lavender-infused sugar would make a lovely addition to a tea party. Use the bounty of your garden to send a caring message to someone special.